South Africa launches national space policy

March 8th, 2009 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Pretoria, March 8 (IANS) South Africa launched a national space policy to give fresh impetus to the country’s space programme to conduct scientific research on climate change, communications and health, among others, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa has said.
Although the country has been involved in space programmes for past 50 years, it was largely uncoordinated. Therefore, there was a need for unified and coordinated space policy, the minister said after the launch of the policy.

He said the satellite technology would help in everyday life from online banking and communication to research on climate change.

“It would also contribute in the health, education and disaster management programmes,” Mpahlwa said.

The space policy will help modernise the country and significantly reduce socio-economic disparity, he noted.

The country will promote industrialisation through the space technology to maximise benefit for the local companies, he said Friday.

The space initiative will create opportunities for close co-operation with other nations, such as Brazil, India and China, in satellite technology, BuaNews reported.

Sipho Zokode, acting deputy director general of South Africa’s space department, said: “The space policy was compiled in July 2007 and the Cabinet approved it Dec 3, 2008. We expect to have an implementation plan by the end of March 2009.”

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